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Taking a Runway Selfie at Phuket Airport Might Earn You the Death Penalty

Authorities in Thailand are cracking down on tourists who sneak onto the runway to snap selfies with landing planes at Phuket International Airport. Click To Tweet

Even the most sophisticated traveler takes selfies, who doesn’t? But you really have to be something special to sneak on a runway to try and catch a selfie with a landing plane. And now the authorities at Phuket airport are taking action to stop this silly trend.

Airport authorities are developing a new safety zone near the runway at Mai Khao Beach—one of the world’s most scenic landing spots—to help prevent tourists from causing a potentially dangerous distraction for pilots landing planes.

“People and tourists will not be allowed to enter this area to take photos,” said deputy Phuket airport chief Wichit Kaeothaithiam via the Bangkok Post.

Any behavior that may cause a disturbance with the normal operating procedures of a landing aircraft might endanger the passengers of the plane. And authorities are looking to punish violators severely.  Included in the selfie ban, is other distracting behaviors such as flighing drones and shining flashlights near an aircraft.  Under the Air Navigation Act. “The maximum penalty is the death sentence,” added Wichit. For lesser offenses, fines can go up to $1,250 or include jail time.

While some locals expressed concerns that the new zone would result in the closing of the nearby beach and subsequently have a negative impact on tourism, officials assured that won’t be the case.

“Whilst we want to maintain tourism revenue in the area, it is important that we ensure the safety of the planes as well as visitors to the beach,” said Wichit. “People will be able to take photos from the beach further away from the runway. This way people can enjoy the beach without compromising safety.”